Schools Celebrate Lights On Afterschool

Schools Celebrate Lights On Afterschool
     The importance of quality afterschool programs for youth was highlighted as schools throughout MVSD celebrated Lights On Afterschool, an annual nationwide event calling attention to the significance of afterschool programs for youth, families, and communities. The Lights On Afterschool celebration is a project of the Afterschool Alliance, and is dedicated to ensuring all children have access to quality, affordable, extended learning time programs.
     MVSD’s THINK Together afterschool program spearheaded the Lights On events throughout the District which showcased the strengths of the program and a variety of fun and educational workshops and activities for students and their families including arts and crafts, cooking, games, and family Bingo.
     At Parkview School students enjoyed water color painting and decorating masks, and at Baker School students made healthy snacks with their parents. Kranz hosted a Family Bingo Night where they raffled off prizes and served coffee, cookies and hot cocoa. Day of the Dead was the theme for Magnolia Learning Center’s Lights On celebration and students played games, enjoyed snacks and eagerly awaited a raffle for prizes such as pumpkins and carving kits, L.A. Rams cups and THINK Together cups.
     “THINK Together is a great program,” said Daniel Montoya, 8th grader at Magnolia. The leaders help us with our homework and learning and we also get to play soccer and other games. I’m glad we have THINK Together here at MLC, and the Lights On event is fun too.”
     The Lights On Afterschool celebration has been organized annually since 2000 by the Afterschool Alliance to underscore the need to invest in afterschool programs, which provide homework help, healthy snacks, mentoring, physical activities, robotics, computer programming, art and music, job- and college-readiness, and myriad opportunities for hands-on learning. This year over 8,000 Lights On events were planned nationwide.
     “We are thrilled that so many people raised their voices for afterschool programs in every part of the country,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “They got to see firsthand the many ways afterschool programs help students succeed in school and in life. Afterschool programs keep kids safe and healthy and inspire them to learn by helping them discover their passions through fun, educational, hands-on activities. Unfortunately, however, there aren’t nearly enough afterschool programs to meet the need. Our goal is to give every student a safe, enriching place to go after the school day ends.”
     In America today, 11.3 million children are alone and unsupervised after school. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, help working families and inspire learning. They provide opportunities to help young people develop into successful adults.
     “We greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication of the THINK Together staff who provide such a beneficial afterschool program for our students every day,” said Angelica Sifuentes Donoso, MVSD’s Director of Family Engagement and After School Programs. “Lights On Afterschool celebrates the remarkable work being done by students who attend our THINK Together programs and is a powerful reminder that afterschool programs offer a range of supports to children and families.”
     The THINK Together afterschool program is at all 12 MVSD schools and the Magnolia Learning Center and offers academically oriented extended learning time programs during the hours of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The THINK Together program not only provides a safe environment for students, but also uses evidence-based strategies to improve students’ personal and social development.
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